As if the undefeated Grand Haven varsity girls basketball team needed to add any more strengths to its already dangerous arsenal, it seems the Bucs are awfully good at pressuring teams in full-court traps.
Bucs' coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer hasn't utilized that strategy many times during the past two seasons, simply because the Bucs have been so post dominant.
“We've always wanted to get into a half-court set before, but it's a different team this year,” she said. “We're very deep at guard. It's like we're interchangeable there. I can keep running guards in and out.”
That luxury means Kowalczyk-Fulmer can let her guards apply pressure at any spot on the floor at any time and not worry about foul trouble hampering her rotation.
It also helps to have blazing quick sophomore Amanda Merz driving opposing guards batty with her ability to create turnovers. The Bucs' point guard had team-highs of five steals and four assists on Tuesday, helping Grand Haven improve to 7-0 with a 61-33 blowout victory against visiting Grand Rapids West Catholic at Grand Haven Fieldhouse.
“We wanted to try (the press out) because we just came up with it in practice and we wanted to see if we could get it going,” Merz said. “Coach wanted us to try it out now so we can have it ready later in the year if we need it.”
It's a nice addition to a team's bag of tricks, especially for last season's Bucs. They used full-court pressure to help them rally back from large deficits in both the Class A state quarterfinals against East Lansing and the state title game against Grosse Pointe South.
It's too early to strike comparisons between this year's Bucs and last year's champions, but at 7-0, many are starting to believe it's possible.
“I'm not really surprised (by the 7-0 start),” Merz said. “We work really well together as a team. We respect every team we play and just got out there and play our hardest. And hopefully we'll get the win in the end.”
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